Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's no longer Rumours

Cause it has been made official! Live Nation [link] will be bringing Fleetwood Mac to Australia & New Zealand end of this year. The band is in the midst of wildly successful North American tour, and will be hitting Europe thereafter. Currently there are only eight shows announced for down under, but judging from the noticeable gaps between the dates, it's safe to say there will be additional shows once the initial ones sell out fast.

Sunday, November 10 – Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney
Saturday, November 16 – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley
Tuesday, November 19 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
Friday, November 22 – Perth Arena, Perth
Tuesday, November 26 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, November 30 – A Day On The Green, The Hill Winery, Geelong
Monday, December 2 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Friday, December 6 – Vector Arena, Auckland

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Aerosmith live in Singapore

It has been a long time coming. Last night saw one of the best rock & roll shows in this country since David Bowie and the Rolling Stones performed here years ago. Steven Tyler; giving Mick Jagger a run for his money. He still could hit the high notes, and he still could scream. And Joe Perry was on fire all night. Great onstage chemistry between both of them. My only gripe was that the sound wasn't loud enough! And what's the deal with people snapping and filming during every single song? Once in a while is fine, but really, every five minutes?

a small, charming venue with a beautiful backdrop

1. Love In An Elevator
2. Draw The Line
3. Oh Yeah
4. Jaded
5. Cryin'
6. Last Child
7. Janie's Got A Gun
8. Livin' On The Edge
9. Rag Doll
10. Stop Messin' Around
11. I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing
12. No More
13. What It Takes
14. Come Together
15. Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
16. Walk This Way

17. Dream On
18. Sweet Emotion

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trouble Will Find Me

On the excellent third track, Don't Swallow The Cap, Matt Berninger sings this line, "If you want to see me cry/play Let It Be or Nevermind". That's the Replacements Let It Be, not the Beatles. For me it's the most intriguing lyric on an album full of intriguing lyrics. Why these two albums in particular? Or was it just an attempt to make the lines rhyme? The National has put out yet another soon-to-be critically acclaimed record, their fourth one since Alligator. Unlike its predecessor High Violet, this one's more dense instrumentally, and sans the lingering guitar distortion and noise. It's not so much a 'grower' as it is easily melodic and accessible as something like Boxer. I love how Bryan Devendorf's drumming, one of the most unique things about the band, add as much to the songs as the Dessner brothers' guitar playing, which I think they have perfected here. Trouble doesn't explore any new musical territory by the band's standards, though they don't need to, as like the singer said in a recent interview, they have reached a point where they no longer feel they need to prove themselves. Berninger delivers lots of melancholy and sadness through his signature baritone voice; his characters all got something eating away at them. But in a weird way, his vocal delivery makes their troubles 'relatable' to us. No doubt this is the best he's ever sung. This is a no-filler kind of album; even a weak track like Fireproof deserves more than a few listens. Besides the exquisite Humiliation (an immediate top five for me), another high point  is the following Pink Rabbits, a piano-driven break-up tune; "You didn't see me I was falling apart/ I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park".....that's as simple a line as it can possibly be, but yet intriguing. The National is currently the best band in America, only second to Wilco.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Manzarek

When the music's over, turn out the lights.

Paired with the dark, earth-shattering poetry of Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek would create a sound on his keyboards unlike any other at the time, making The Doors the most important American band of the late '60s and early '70s.  He was responsible for creating many colorful images in my head. I also love the work he did with X on their first few albums. Watch the documentaries and interviews and notice how Ray was still very enthusiastic and passionate about his band after all these years. He continued to carry on their legacy, for good and for bad, till this day. They literally were and still are in a league of their own. The music of The Doors has been a huge part of my life the past five years, and will continue to be for as long as I live.

P.S. Virtually every Doors song had a keyboard 'moment'. My favorite will always be Ray's solos from The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat). Combined with the mean guitar licks by Robby Krieger and John Densmore's firm drumming, it is rock & roll perfection.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Gaslight Anthem @ Metro City

Dave Hause joins the band during American Slang
The first time I saw TGA in 2009, they blew me away. This time not so much. It wasn't a bad gig in any way, but I felt they could've done better. The band looked a bit tired, but then I could be wrong as I wasn't standing near the stage. I thought maybe they'd play longer, since Perth was the last stop of the Oz tour. Setlist wise, I'm more or less pleased with it. They must've put a lot of thought into the sequencing of the songs because it was almost impeccable. The Handwritten album was featured a lot, and it was actually one of the main reasons why I was back in Perth (yet again); I love the record to death and just had to see it done live. Yet to my disappointment, Mae wasn't played! A surprisingly good She Loves You took the opening encore slot instead. Here Comes My Girl was missing too. I would've really loved to hear more from American Slang and Sink Or Swim. Still, Angry Johnny & The Radio....what a cool moment that was! Of course The '59 Sound got plenty of airings, my personal favorite The Patient Ferris Wheel.

Brian Fallon was very talkative; he reminds a bit of Eddie Vedder, the only difference is that Brian likes to ramble on and on with no apparent train of thought. The result was some awesome, sometimes awkward stand-up comedy. When he spoke in between songs, his voice was loud and clear. But during the music, his vocals were pretty much drowned out by the band. Brian's just an average singer, but he's sincere as hell when he performs. He lives and breathes those words. Thanks to the lousy mix, I didn't feel that coming through. The guys were tight, but they could also get 'sloppy', making a few mistakes here and there. I've always liked that raw, imperfect quality in a live rock band. Benny Horowitz, as usual, was a fucking monster on the drums. Loved the final one-two punch of the last two tracks off The '59 Sound to cap the show. It felt good hearing Here's Looking At You, Kid for the first time!

1. Handwritten
2. Old White Lincoln
3. The '59 Sound
4. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
5. American Slang
6. The Patient Ferris Wheel
7. Biloxi Parish
8. Angry Johnny And The Radio
9. Astro Zombies (Misfits cover)
10. Howl
11. "45"
12. SeƱor And The Queen
13. Wooderson
14. The Queen Of Lower Chelsea
15. Too Much Blood
16. Great Expectations
17. Keepsake

18. She Loves You
19. Mulholland Drive
20. Here's Looking At You, Kid
21. The Backseat

Metro City club after the show
One of the highlights of the night was supporting act, Dave Hause, lead singer of The Loved Ones. He and Gaslight go way back. Towards the end of his 45min solo set, he even did a medley that included Joe Strummer's Coma Girl, and The Hold Steady's Constructive Summer (which has a Strummer reference inside). 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It is arguably the most outstanding official band app ever designed for the iPad. I find it extremely educational and of course, entertaining. It will please new and hardcore fans alike. And the best part is there's no need to connect to the internet; all the media, and there's tons of it, is readily available. It also led me to this video: [link]. Can't think of a better way to keep the band and Jim Morrison's legacy alive.


Sunday, May 12, 2013


The last Dixie Chicks album was a long seven years ago -- the fantastic, no-compromise, Grammy Award sweeping Taking The Long Way. In 2010, two of them, sisters Emily Robison & Martie Maguire, made new music under the name, Court Yard Hounds, with Robison taking lead vocals for the first time. Meanwhile, Natalie Maines had been busy involving herself in the West Memphis Three case with other like-minded artists. This year she is back in the limelight with a new collection of mainly covers and a few originals. It's no surprise that she would do a record of her own eventually. Co-produced with Ben Harper, this is a mainly straight-up rock album that tackles more serious issues. It's kind of a mixed bag however.  

Without You is an Eddie Vedder ukelele song, and despite the new dense instrumentation, it still sounds a tad uninspired; the tenderness from the original is stripped away. Maines sings well on the title track, giving the 'mother' character more sympathy than the Pink Floyd version, but to my ears, it sounds as if she's just singing for the sake of singing. That 'soul' is missing. The two better covers more suited for her would be Silver Bell (Patty Griffin) and the Jayhawks' classic, I'd Run Away. But obviously the one that takes the top spot is Jeff Buckley's finest moment, Lover You Should've Come Over. It's a tough one to tackle, but Natalie fully understands how to approach it with her powerhouse vocal ability, and she does it with absolute grace and beauty. It's the kind of song where it's easy to over-sing , though she restraints herself from doing so.

It's mostly the original tunes which bear repeated listening. There's a non-country 'outtake' originally meant for inclusion in Taking The Long Way, Come Cryin' To Me, in which the group co-wrote with Jayhawks' Gary Louris. Listening to it makes me miss those trio harmonies. Trained is a Harper-penned hard rocking blues song right up his alley, not so much Natalie's. The two she co-wrote with Ben: a slow-grooving soulful Vein In Vein that somehow reminds me of Stephen Stills' So Many Times, minus the pedal steel, and the excellent contemplative closer, Take It On Faith. The best one has got to be Free Life, written by musician and past Dixie Chicks collaborator, Dan Wilson. It's a gorgeous, heartfelt call-to-action with an anthemic quality to it, about being true to yourself and being able to do what's right in life. It's also one of the best things she's ever sung in her career.